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Eleanor Matsuura Interview: Yumiko’s Carol Punch and Magna

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Photo Credit: (left) Josh Stringer/AMC / (right) Jace Downs/AMC
Photo Credit: (left) Josh Stringer/AMC / (right) Jace Downs/AMC

Eleanor Matsuura spoke to The Natural Aristocrat® about Yumiko’s infamous Carol punch leading to the end of her relationship with Magna. “Nobody wants to punch Melissa McBride in the face, you know, it’s Melissa! Also, Carol is such a beloved character.”

Matsuura also spoke about the class juxtaposition of being served by Magna at Governor Milton’s ball when ‘real life’ hierarchies returned at The Commonwealth… After previously fighting alongside each other equally as warriors.

This Walking Dead Season 11 interview took place during a press roundtable over Zoom.

THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT (NIR REGEV): Eleanor, going back to Yumiko’s punch on Carol, your relationship with Magna dissolved as a consequence… But it also led you to find your way back to your brother and rediscovering your former profession at The Commonwealth.

Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko, Ian Anthony Dale as Tomi - The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 5 - Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC

Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko, Ian Anthony Dale as Tomi – The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 5 – Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC

Knowing this, do you feel Yumiko regrets punching Carol or still feels it was the right decision to unknowingly move forward?

Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko - The Walking Dead _ Season 11 - Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC

Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko – The Walking Dead _ Season 11 – Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC

ELEANOR MATSUURA: I love the punch on Carol (laughs). That was an intense day to shoot. Nobody wants to punch Melissa McBride in the face, you know, it’s Melissa!

Also, Carol is such a beloved character, I knew a lot of people would have lots to say about that episode. But looking at the punch being a catalyst for all these other events… Yeah. I think you’re right.

Nadia Hilker as Magna, Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 7 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Nadia Hilker as Magna, Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko – The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 7 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Something that big had to happen in order to propel Yumiko off on the journey that she goes on with Ezekiel, Eugene, and Princess that ultimately leads them to The Commonwealth. All of these things had to happen for a reason. They’re suppose to happen.

Paola Lázaro as Juanita 'Princess' Sanchez, Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko, Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter, Khary Payton as Ezekiel - The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 2 - Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC

Paola Lázaro as Juanita ‘Princess’ Sanchez, Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko, Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter, Khary Payton as Ezekiel. The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 2 – Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC

I think Yumiko needed something that huge, like a moment of total collapse and frustration hitting out physically.

It had to be something that big, otherwise I probably would never have left Magna. I probably would never have left my chosen family.

Nadia Hilker as Magna, Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 9 - Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

Nadia Hilker as Magna, Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko – The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 9 – Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

So in a way, we’d have to believe that the good thing about it is we opened this door into a whole other world.

Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko, Josh Hamilton as Lance Hornsby - The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 7 - Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC

Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko, Josh Hamilton as Lance Hornsby – The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 7 – Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC

Although was it a good thing that we ended up at The Commonwealth? Ah, I’ll let you be the judge of that.

THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT (NIR REGEV): There’s a scene in TWD Season 11 Episode 10, where Yumiko Okumura is juxtaposed against Magna on opposite sides of life at Governor Milton’s masquerade ball.

You see Yumiko in this elegant, upscale outfit being served by her former girlfriend. A real division of classes.

Yumiko & Magna go from both being equal warriors out in the field right back to the old world’s social hierarchies. I was wondering how that scene made you feel?

ELEANOR MATSUURA: Awkward. It was really awkward. Yeah. Really felt it because we didn’t pull any punches when it came to highlighting where people are at in the class system…

A class system that we haven’t seen on the show. That we haven’t seen on The Walking Dead because the whole point is when the apocalypse happened, everyone was sort of created somewhat equal.

Nadia Hilker as Magna, Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko - The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 4 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Nadia Hilker as Magna, Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko – The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 4 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

I mean it was more about survival, like hand to mouth. It was like we hadn’t seen this kind of class system in action for such a long time and then to see it done suddenly.

Here’s me (Yumiko) with my cocktail dress, being served wine by my ex-girlfriend. It just feels… I mean, of all the awkward ex meetings, that’s gotta be up there! (laughs)

I think it was a very strange time as well. Cause for me and Nadia (Hilker) personally, we’ve spent so much time on the show together. I think pretty much every scene we’ve been in together.

Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko - The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 7 - Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC

Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko – The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 7 – Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC

And so to then be apart for quite some time suddenly until the end of last season and put back together this season… I think this was the first time we’d met for a while.

Because of COVID as well, it’s not like I’m seeing Nadia the actor in between these takes either. I think it was the first time we’d literally seen each other for a long time.

Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko, Nadia Hilker as Magna- The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 13 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko, Nadia Hilker as Magna- The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 13 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

So it was kind of infused with all of that too. Like, wow, look how much has happened since we last saw each other!

Look at the different places we’re standing at since we last saw each other, both as characters and actors, it was really, really weird. Yeah.

Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko - The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 7 - Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC

Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko – The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 7 – Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC

Eleanor Matsuura on possibility of a Tales of the Walking Dead origin story episode

Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko - The Walking Dead _ Season 10 - Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko – The Walking Dead _ Season 10 – Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

Origin stories are always the best aren’t they? It’s like you can have the most fun with them. Angela (Kang) always wanted Yumiko to travel where I’m from, the UK. So I’d love to see that story!

I’d love to see how they came all the way from Europe and how they ended up in Virginia. How they ended up over there. I think there’s so much story to be told there, especially now that we’ve found her brother in the Commonwealth.

Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko, Ian Anthony Dale as Tomiichi, aka Tomi - The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 7 - Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC

Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko, Ian Anthony Dale as Tomiichi, aka Tomi – The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 7 – Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC

It’s hinted that Tomi has a lot of addiction problems and he has a sort of murky past as well in the backstory. I’m not sure how much it’s really been explored to its fullest in this season.

Plus, my relationship with Magna, who I met when she was actually in jail and I was her lawyer.

And again, she’s come from a whole different place. So how did we all get there? I think there’s so much interesting story to be told there. It would be very cool to explore.

Khary Payton as Ezekiel, Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko - The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 16 - Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

Khary Payton as Ezekiel, Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko – The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 16 – Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: Thanks Eleanor!

ELEANOR MATSUURA: Thank you!

The Walking Dead Season 11 Return Date

The Walking Dead Season 11 returns on AMC and AMC+ on Sunday, October 2 at 9:00 pm ET / 8:00 pm Central! The final 8 episodes. Where will Yumiko Okumura, Carol Peletier, and Magna end up?

Episode 1117 “Lockdown” Synopsis:

“Daryl and Negan rush to the Commonwealth to stop Hornsby from going after their families. Pamela deals with protestors demanding justice for Sebastian’s crimes. Mercer needs Rosita’s help to fight a swarm.”

Directed by: Greg Nicotero

Written by: Julia Ruchman

More Walking Dead Interviews on The Natural Aristocrat®

Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko, Ian Anthony Dale as Tomiichi, aka Tomi - The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 7 - Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC

Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko, Ian Anthony Dale as Tomiichi, aka Tomi – The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 7 – Photo Credit: Josh Stringer/AMC

Be sure to read:

Josh Hamilton talks Lance Hornsby & The Governor, Melissa McBride (Interview)

Josh McDermitt talks Romance Changing Eugene on The Walking Dead (Interview)

Ben Nichols talks ‘The Last Pale Light in the West’ as The Governor’s Theme (Interview)

Visit the Interviews section for the latest exclusive chats with the top talent in Hollywood and beyond!

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